Half Of U.S. Workers Have Quit Their Job Because They Disliked Their Boss

If you’ve left a job that you’ve otherwise liked simply because you disliked your boss, you’re in great company — company the size of half of the United States. And while that statistic is huge, it’s just as likely that your boss doesn’t like their job, either.

The new Gallup study of 7,272 adults showed that half had left careers simply because of an unbearable boss. Workers may hate their higher-ups, but the feeling may be mutual. Gallup also found that managers weren’t satisfied with their work situation, either. Just 35 percent of U.S. managers said they felt engaged on the job. Fifty-one percent said they weren’t actively engaged while at work, and 14 percent confessed that they actively tune out at work, and give very little effort to their job. Jim Harter, chief researcher at Gallup regarding workplace productivity, says he is continuously surprised by the staggering numbers of unhappy workers.

“When managers aren’t engaged, it affects their employees, which in turn affects productivity, whether people stay or leave, how often they’re absent, and then ultimately productivity.”

The only situation that causes people to leave a job more than a bad boss is a bad coworker, the poll showed. So the evidence is clear: corporations need to be very selective about who is promoted. Everyone isn’t going to love everyone, but there are certain characteristics make it more likely for a worker to like his job: when his or her opinion is valued, feeling appreciated for work done well, given constructive (not destructive) criticism, an opportunity for growth, adequate monetary compensation, and the ability to have autonomy, or make some decisions on their own. Harter says promotions may be the single best way to control how bad bosses happen.

“Obviously, organizations can’t just change out all their managers in the short term, but they can control who they name [as manager] next, based on their natural talent to motivate others and engage workers.”

While it’s true that work will always be work, and therefore not always fun, most people agree that being treated respectfully and feeling like they have the tools necessary to do quality work can make a big difference in job satisfaction, which is something that bosses directly impact. Corporations need to watch carefully for signs of engagement in the boss, genuine interest in employees, and the ability to handle conflict in a positive way.

Have you left your job because of a bad boss? Share your story.